Brae
by Kieron Connors

 

Chapter 11 

The following evening, we were forcibly coerced into going out when Emmie made an unsolicited housecall to our room.

“It’s time to leave the love nest my chickadees!” she announced. “Wow so this is the Davenport-Vallette abode? Not too shabby.”

“Hey! How come his name comes first?!” Tate said.

“Uhh… alphabetical?” Emmie replied. “Besides, he lived here first.”

“Fine, whatever,” Tate laughed.

“Okay, but seriously, get dressed. I am not leaving here without you guys. Nic has a chicken in the oven, so move it.”

“Nicola has a chicken in the oven?” I asked, a little skeptical.

“It’s store bought. Pre-prepared. Don’t worry.”

“Can we invite Cash?” I asked.

“Yeah sure, he’s a riot. We love him.”

***

“Wow this isn’t bad,” I said, taking a bit of Nicola’s chicken breast.

“Yeah, although apparently a vegetable side is too much to ask for!” Emmie sniped.

“Don’t go askin’ for the moon,” Cash laughed.

“Oh whatever, I made you dinner! You ingrate!” Nicola laughed.

“So where are Colin and Carl tonight?” Tate asked.

“Colin has a midterm tomorrow,” Emmie said.

“I was wondering when that engineering business was going to rear its ugly head,” I said.

“He really has made such an effort though,” Lottie said. “He practically lives with us.”

“He loooooooves you,” Nicola teased, pointing playfully at Emmie.

“What about Carl?” I asked, looking at Lottie.

“Umm… it’s complicated,” she said with a giggle.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“It means he is playing the ultimatum game,” Lottie said vaguely.

“It means he won’t put out anymore unless she commits to him,” Nicola said. “Lottie is dating a woman!”

“So what are you gunna do?” Tate asked.

“I don’t know,” Lottie shrugged. “I don’t really want to talk about it or think about it tonight. Let’s just have fun.”

“Okay, so it’s just us then,” I said, jumping in. Lottie had saved my ass in enough binds that I was willing to jump in and save hers when she needed it. “Just the gals and the gays!” I joked, hoping to steer the conversation in a different direction.

“I’ll drink to that,” Nicola said, refilling her wine glass.

“Bitch, you’ll drink to anything,” Lottie laughed.

“That’s a winning M.O. in my book,” Cash quipped. “Top me up baby,” he said, holding up his glass.

“Oh, do you boys have your outfits all ready for next week?” Lottie asked.

“Outfits for what?” Cash asked.

“White party!” Emmie squealed.

“It’s our sorority’s fall date party,” Lottie explained. “Brae is my date and Nicola is going to take Tate.”

“You’re taking me?” Tate asked looking at Nicola.

“Oh yeah, we decided a few days ago. We didn’t feel the need to consult you guys,” Nicola replied. “Haven’t you gotten the invites yet?”

“No,” Tate and I replied.

“Ugh! I could wring Heather’s neck!” Emmie fumed. “She is an utterly useless co-chair! I can’t trust her to do anything!”

“I wonder if we could set someone up with Cash,” Lottie mused.

“Oh yeah, because getting set up with a gay guy is just the ideal scenario for any sorority girl,” Cash laughed.

“Some of them have long-distance boyfriends and stuff so they’re not looking for a real date anyways,” Lottie replied.

“Actually! I bet Katie Jennings will do it. Her boyfriend is abroad in Madrid,” Emmie said.

“Oh yeah, she’s perfect! She’s from California too, so you guys will have something in common,” Lottie remarked.

“It’s a big state, but sure,” Cash said with a smile. “Who am I to turn down a party?”

“Make sure you guys have your white wardrobes ready. Nothing else will be accepted,” Emmie said.

“Literally, you will be turned away,” Nicola said.

“Oh, crap, I don’t think I have white pants here. Where am I going to get white pants in Carrington? I guess I could have my mom chip me some,” I said.

“I have an extra pair you can borrow,” Tate offered. I looked at him skeptically.

“Tate, there is no way your pants are going to fit me.”

“What? Why not? I know that I’m a little bigger than you in certain areas,” he said cheekily looking down into his lap. “But they’d do for one night.”

We laughed.

“No more wine for that one,” I said, nodding in Tate’s direction.

The rest of the dinner went smoothly and I was pleased that Cash was assimilating so seamlessly into our group. I knew what I relief it must be for him to have a group of people where he felt comfortable being himself. After dinner, the girls took us up to the rooftop pool where we lounged on the deck chairs and polished off another bottle of wine (and Nicola chain smoked) before we departed for the bar.

***

On our way to the bar, I purposefully hung back to walk with Lottie.

“So, you wanna talk about it?”

She wrapped her arm around mine and rested her head on my shoulder.

“Am I being a total idiot?” she asked.

“No, not at all. You have to do what your heart tells you is right.”

“Emmie says I can’t let my emotional walls prevent my happiness.”

“Yes but Emmie also probably has a hidden agenda full of double dates and god knows what else. Emotional walls serve an important purpose. You know Carl pretty well at this point. If your gut still doesn’t trust him, there is probably a reason why.”

“Yeah, I think I do trust him. I think that the person I don’t trust is myself, if that makes any sense.”

“Umm, maybe try explaining it a little bit,” I replied.

“I guess that I like the way things are with Carl right now because nothing has really happened yet. He is probably the most perfect guy I’ve ever been with. He’s smart and caring, and funny, and he fawns over me. I just don’t want anything to change. I like being in the ‘pre’ phase with him and I like that there is all this potential there but nothing has officially, officially happened. It makes me feel like it will never end. I’m just worried if we end up getting together it will unravel and that would suck because I really care about him and I like being together– and this sounds like the rant of a crazy woman,” she groaned, clutching her head in her hands and giving her head a shake, making her light brown hair fly wildly.

“No, that makes sense, sort of. Umm, have you felt this way with any other guys?”

“No, just Carl.”

“Well, obviously there is something there. You just admitted it to yourself. I think you would really regret walking away from this.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“Besides, he isn’t going to let things stay the way that they are. He’s given the ultimatum, so you can’t hide away in this ‘pre’ state any longer.”

“Yeah, but Nicola says he’ll come back for the… nevermind, you don’t’ want to hear about that.”

“Yeah, and you don’t want to be taking advice from Nicola. Of the relationship sort anyways. Condom brands, maybe…”

Lottie laughed.

“You know if you want to take him to your date party next week, I won’t be offended at all. I just wanna see you two crazy kids happy,” I said.

“No! I want to go with you. I’m going to let him sweat for a bit anyways!”

I rolled my eyes. “You are too much.” She shrugged.

The rest of the evening was a blast.

Nicola led us right past the line (or the ‘plebes’ as she called them) and Rambo let us in immediately, as usual. The bar wasn’t quite as crowded as it had been on my previous visits and there was karaoke going on in the front so we decided to grab (read: steal) a table and hang out in the front for the evening. Nicola provided the tequila shots for all, but Tate, Cash and I took it easy, which meant double the alcohol for the girls. It wasn’t long before they were monopolizing the microphone and subjecting the bar to suggestive dancing and the greatest hits of Britney Spears, not that the male population of Carrington seemed to mind a bit. Eventually they managed to drag us up on the make-shift stage with them and they even got Tate to croon a rather astounding rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’, that had the bar on its feet.

“I can’t believe I am dating a cliché,” I teased.

“What? You don’t wanna be my city boy?”

“South Detroit? No thank you. Surviving here is struggle enough for this homo.” Tate laughed.

The girls were soon all over him, gushing about how talented he was and I had a feeling Tate was going to be regretting that performance for a long time to come. Cash’s (painful) rendition of ‘Sexual Healing’ got them off of his back temporarily, but I had a feeling they’d be on his case again soon. Tate and I packed it in a little before 1am, hoping to avoid a repeat of Tuesday morning and Cash walked back to the dorm with us.

“Can I cuddle, city boy?” Tate asked as we dragged our asses into bed.

“Sure,” I smiled.

Tate climbed into bed with me and I snuggled up behind him, throwing an arm around his chest, which he hugged to himself. My forehead rested in his curls and I drifted off to sleep intoxicated by his fresh, manly aroma.

***

The next morning was not nearly as much of a struggle as Tuesday had been.

“You see? Moderation is the key,” Tate said cheerily. Too cheerily for 5:30 in the morning.

“Oh, whatever, you’re the one who gets hangovers so I don’t know why you’re preaching at me,” I replied, a little crankily.

“Alright cranky pants. What’s up with you this morning?”

“I’m stiff because of you and your rule breaking!”

“Stiff, huh?” Tate leered at me and reached a hand out for my briefs.

“Do not even try humor with me right now,” I said kinking my neck to the side and unleashing a full musical scale of cracks. Tate grimaced. “I’m sure I could snap your neck in a similar fashion.”

“Oh, look, my lips are sealing and my pervy hands are keeping to themselves! Guess that won’t be necessary,” Tate replied, giving me a melodramatically wary look.

The day flew by. I had my favorite classes, Brit Lit and Public Speaking, which made the day infinitely more bearable than my Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tate and I shone in our Brit Lit discussion and the other students seemed totally perplexed by our synchronicity. It was fun and kind of sexy to see him in an academic environment. The way that he presented himself was so polished and refined, and he was an incredibly eloquent speaker in a day of age where most students, even at Carrington, were stumbling over their ‘likes,’ ‘umms,’ and ‘uhhs’ (and various contractions thereof).

I had a quick lifeguarding shift before afternoon practice, which I spent daydreaming about my weekend getaway with Tate. I had my anxieties about taking our relationship to the next level but I was also sure that it was something that I really wanted to do. He was such a loving and solid person (though I’d learned he didn’t bounce back from alcohol all that well) and I inherently knew I could trust him completely. Still, I couldn’t completely shake the feeling that I would end up making a complete ass out of myself.

***

We hit the road directly after practice the next morning with Tate navigating and me driving. The drive was a long one but it was incredibly scenic as we were mostly driving on parkways through mountainous and densely forested terrain. The trees were a conflagration of reds, oranges and yellows and the sky was a breathtaking blue.

Tate regaled me with stories of his road trips to the Alps and the Pyrenees with some of his high school friends on their school holidays. It was interesting to hear him talk a little about his high school friends because he didn’t do it often. When I asked him about it, he shrugged and said that he went to international school and that most of the children were diplomats’ children that didn’t end up staying more than three or four years. It wasn’t exactly conducive to establishing lasting friendships. I also had a feeling that while his coming out hadn’t been an issue with his family, that may not have been the case with a lot of his friends.

Elise had also dragged him around the French countryside (mostly touring wineries), to Monaco and even through Tuscany on one spring vacation (again, mostly touring wineries). Elise had been so taken with Florence that she had insisted on extending their stay so that they ended up returning to school late, much to their parents’ chagrin. It was obvious that they had depended on each other a lot growing up and I almost envied the close relationship he had with her. He was overjoyed at the prospect of seeing her in a little over a week and it struck me how much he must be feeling their separation.

“You know, this is the longest drive I’ve ever been on,” I said, as we neared three hours on the road.

“What? Really?” Tate asked.

“Yeah, definitely.”

“How is that possible?” he asked.

“I mean, we usually copter to the Hamptons,” I replied. “I feel like that more-or-less summarizes our travel habits.”

Tate laughed uproariously.

***

We arrived at the bed and breakfast shortly thereafter. The converted mansion was some kind of sort of Cape Cod/Victorian hybrid with a cheery yellow, white and blue paint job that reminded me of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies. A large porch wrapped around the house and twin-steepled turrets framed the front of the house. The ornately detailed trimmings, which were truly a marvel of wood carving, contrasted a little oddly with the shingled exterior and storm shutters, making the building a unique one.

We parked out front and Tate giddily bounded ahead, his face lit up with excitement. He skipped up the front steps by twos and then held the front door open for me with exaggerated chivalry as I followed with our overnight bags. The entrance was bright, which was a good thing because most of the furniture was dark-wooded antiques. An attractive blond woman appeared from one of the back rooms and met us at the front desk.

“Hi, we have a reservation,” Tate said. “The name is Vallette.”

“Welcome Mr. Vallette,” she said with a warm smile, opening their register. “Oh, umm, it actually looks like we have you in our honeymoon suite for some reason.,” she said, looking up at us with an awkward grimace.

“Yeah, that’s right,” he said with a grin, throwing an arm over my shoulder and giving me a kiss on the cheek.

I smiled awkwardly, feeling my face go red, but the woman didn’t miss a beat.

“Oh, great!” she said cheerfully. “I just wanted to be sure. You guys are kind of young, so I thought I should double check.”

“Gotta cover your bases,” Tate replied, flashing her a mega-watt grin.

“Exactly.”

She led us up to the third floor.

“We’re at about half occupancy right now, but you guys are actually the only ones on this floor,” she said, leading us down the hallway towards the last door. “Here we are,” she said walking us into the light and airy honeymoon suite. A white four poster bed, with blue and white French toile duvet stood at the center of the room. Light streamed in through the windows that lined the exterior walls and French doors led out onto our own private balcony. The furniture looked antique Victorian, but it was all painted white, and the walls were a foggy blue.

“The bathroom is though here,” she said opening the door to a large marble bathroom with a double shower and a Jacuzzi tub. “We, uhh, have been having some problems lately,” she said. “If you could just make sure that all of the tub water stays in the tub that would be most appreciated. It’s been leaking through the ceiling a little bit. These old houses, you know.”

“Roger that,” Tate replied.

She pointed out the towels and fresh sheets and left the menu for the weekend before leaving us.

“So…” I said, hopping up on the bed.

“So.” Tate replied with a smile. “I booked us a rowboat on the lake for a half hour from now and after that I thought we could take a tour of the crystal workshop in town.”

“Oh,” I replied.

I was surprised, but pleased, that Tate had composed an agenda that constituted of more than just sex for our weekend getaway.

“Does that suit you, Sir Davenport?”

Again with the exaggerated deference. I rolled my eyes.

“I don’t know why you’re on my case about this elitist crap, I mean you’re the guy who wouldn’t watch Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, because it was too ‘low brow.’ It’s John Hughes for goodness sake!”

“Ahh! But I have an excuse,” he quipped. “I have been spoiled by the far superior quality of French cinema.”

“Never mind, I can’t win,” I laughed. “Let’s get going.”

***

The two of us strolled into the quaint downtown area, lined by brightly-painted store fronts. It was a little reminiscent of Carrington although it remained completely untouched by big business and was entirely small artisan shops. Most of them looked closed, which was explained when we stumbled upon the farmer’s market and craft fair in the town square.

Two blocks down was the boathouse where we were to pick up our rental. Even though we weren’t being physically affectionate the guy behind the desk seemed to pick up on what we were about and he seemed less at peace with it than the woman at the inn had been. We were forced to wear oversized, pumpkin orange life-preservers that I noticed none of the other people on the lake were wearing. We took it in stride, not particularly anxious to provoke a scene when it wasn’t necessary. The boat was rickety enough (“one big splinter” according to Tate) that I thought we might end up having some use for them, as the boat creaked and groaned every time one of us shifted our weight.

The lake was actually a reservoir, we learned after we were aggressively lectured about how important it was that we didn’t dump any waste into the water, and it was a pretty decent size. The side nearest the town was sparsely forested and the far side of the lake bordered a small range of mountains, all of which were densely coated with pines. I rowed us out to the middle of the lake where we could sit and enjoy the scenery and people watch the other half-dozen rowboats on the water.

“I wish I’d planned ahead enough to think of doing a picnic or something out here,” Tate said, giving me an apologetic smile.

“You’re kidding, right?” I replied. “First of all, this is perfection. Second of all, you are crazy if you think that boathouse manager was going to let us bring a sandwich or a juice box within 100 yards of this sacred body of water.”

Tate laughed. “You’re right. Did he, uhh, bother you?”

I shrugged. “Not really. It is what it is. Could have been worse.”

“Yeah, could have been better though. It makes me feel like living out here as a couple would be really difficult, if not impossible, which is kinda sad.”

“Well, it’s good for a visit every once in awhile, but I’m a city boy at heart,” I said.

“I mean, I am too, but still, I would appreciate being able to feel universally welcome.”

“Yeah, I just don’t think that’s a reality of our situation though, big guy. There will always be naysayers. I mean, look at Drake.”

“Yeah, but Drake is one mean son of a bitch in general, not just a fag hater,” Tate replied, reaching down to pick up one of my feet. “I wonder what happened to him to fuck him up like that,” he continued, pulling off my flip-flop and placing my foot in his lap. He began gently kneading away at the balls of my feet, his thumbs rubbing up into my arches.

“Don’t!!” I warned, feeling a shudder travel up my back. “I’m ticklish.”

“Oh, really?” Tate said mischievously, forcibly holding my foot in place as I tried to pull it away. He trailed his finger tips lightly over the bottom of my foot.

“No! I’m serious!” I laughed, trying to sound stern. “Stop! Do not do this!”

Tate continued his tickle assault on my foot and reached out to grab my other foot.

“No!” I yelled, pulling it away quickly and throwing myself off balance. I tumbled off of my bench and landed in the bottom of the boat, sending it rocking. Tate staggered for balance, nearly falling overboard before landing on top of me. We were both laughing so hard that we had tears streaming down our faces.

“You are a cruel, wicked, evil man,” I giggled.

He laughed and kissed me fiercely. At first I returned his kiss with vigor, but when I felt his tongue probing for entry I gently pushed him back. He gave me a confused look, his beautiful brow furrowing.

“Uhh, sorry, I’m just worried the boat man is going to nuke us. And I’m also laying on some kind of support brace thing,” I said, apologetically.

“Oh! Sorry!” Tate said, hopping off of me, back onto his seat. He extended his hands and helped pull me up off the bottom of the row boat. He cast a wary look towards the shore. “You’re right,” he whispered. “Dude is definitely staring.”

“Yeah, I figured he didn’t have anything better to do with his time than to spy on two teenage guys,” I replied.

Tate took his turn tooling around with the oars and he paddled us around for awhile before we decided to go in and grab some lunch.

***

We returned our boat (if looks could kill…) and retraced our steps back to the ‘Fall Carnival’ in the town square.

“So, corn dogs and cotton candy?” Tate joked.

“You joke,” I replied, “but you don’t even know how much I love cotton candy. It will be a part of this meal. That is non-negotiable.”

Tate threw his hands up in defeat. “I’ve learned better than to try and negotiate with you,” he laughed.

We ended up getting a quiche and some fresh vegetables to start from one of the farmer’s booths. We settled on a bench by the square’s central fountain (a bizarre depiction of George Washington as Poseidon, appearing out of a swelling wave) and dug into our lunch. I’d managed to get us a bottle of wine, although the woman at the booth had given me a skeptical look when I produced my I.D. ‘Funny,’ I thought to myself. ‘I think is probably the first time I’ve actually been carded since arriving at Carrington. This thing has sort of been a waste of money thus far,’ I thought as I pocketed the fake I.D. after she’d finished inspecting it.

“Wine and quiche,” Tate chuckled. “This is probably the gayest moment of my life. Next trip we take let’s do something manly, like camp.”

“You better watch your manly ass doesn’t end up in a holding cell for violating open container laws,” I said, as Tate opened our bottle of wine.

He produced two plastic cups and poured us each a serving, before recorking the bottle and slipping it back in its paper bag.

“This is incredible,” he sighed taking another bite of our quiche.

“Delicious,” I agreed. “But food always tastes better out of doors.”

When we’d finished we doubled back to pick up some cotton candy, which I attacked with relish. Then we wandered around the little town area, looking in at a few of the shops before stopping for a glass blowing demonstration at a small workshop. We were led around the studio by the owner’s son, who had taken over a lot of the administrative elements of the business. His father was still active with the company and still made special pieces and we actually got to see him hard at work on one. The company employed four workers and we got to see them demonstrate the various stages of the creation process. Afterwards, feeling a little obligated to patronize, we both picked out a couple of items for our parents (a vase and a serving platter for mine) and Tate picked out a modern-looking sculpture of a small sailboat for our room.

We did a little more sightseeing around the town before returning to the inn for an early dinner. The dining room was extremely formal, and frankly a little stuffy, so we took our meal out on the porch and enjoyed the sunset together as we ate. A couple of other couples came and went as we relaxed in our Adirondack chairs and we waved warmly and exchanged some polite greetings.

“I could get used to this,” Tate said, stretching leisurely. I couldn’t help but notice the way his jeans molded to his muscular legs and the snug fit of his polo shirt over his ripped torso. He was a mouth-watering sight.

“It sure feels a million miles from Carrington,” I replied.

***

We retreated to our room early, anxious to take advantage of the king-sized bed and the luxury of being able to sleep in the following morning. Tate had booked the room for two evenings so we didn’t need to worry about being out by 11am and could hang out until late afternoon.

Tate produced the wine bottle from lunch.

“Shall we finish this off?” he asked.

“Later,” I replied, raising an eyebrow and walking up to him. I wrapped my arms around him, enjoying the feeling of his broad back. I allowed my hands to trail down to his jeans and slip into his back pockets, cupping his muscular bubble butt. I rested my forehead against his for a moment and enjoyed the masculine smell of him, then I sought out his lips with my own. He returned my kiss enthusiastically and rubbed his bulge sensuously against mine. His arms wrapped around my waist, pulling me against him firmly. I could feel the definitions of his muscular torso against mine and I was overwhelmed by his masculine energy.

I grabbed frantically at the hem of his shirt and pulled it up over his chest and he pulled it off over his head. He unzipped his jeans and shucked them off. He threw himself onto the bed while I quickly stripped off the rest of my clothing. Tate eyed me seductively from his perch, a dark curl falling onto his cocked brow and a smile curving the corners of his full lips. His white briefs hugged him tightly and left little of his obvious arousal to the imagination. I slid off my own briefs and then went to join him on the bed.

I crawled on top of him, taking on the role of the aggressor. I placed a strong hand on his chest, forcing him to lay all the way back. Dipping my head down, I kissed him quickly and forcefully before pulling back abruptly so that our faces hovered inches apart. He looked up at me with an amused expression on his face. I leaned down and kissed him again, biting softly at his lower lip and then pulled back, giving him a teasing look. He groaned and tried to suppress a laugh.

As I leaned in to kiss him a third time, I let my hips drop so that my throbbing erection rubbed against his, the thin cotton of his briefs rubbing sensuously against my shaft. Tate moaned his pleasure into my mouth as I pulled my face back from his, repeating my teasing. He gave me a devilish grin and then grabbed my face in his hands and tried to pull me into another kiss, but I grabbed his shoulders and held him down against the bed.

I burrowed my face into his neck, kissing and caressing his jaw, his throat and his pronounced adam’s apple, which darted up and down as I stimulated it. I progressed down to his chest, licking both of his small nipples erect and massaging his firm pectorals. Tate seemed to have surrendered to my game and relaxed, sighing with pleasure, gently rolling his hips, and running his fingers through my hair as I moved down his abdomen. His cut abs contracted as I kissed and prodded them with my tongue and I enjoyed the smooth, hairless feel of his marble skin. I scooted down a little so that my face was even with his crotch, his erection tenting his briefs which were sporting a large wet spot. This was it. No turning back now.

I contemplated nibbling on his erection through his briefs, but I figured that I had teased him enough for one session. I slid my fingers under the waistband and slowly began pulling down his briefs, exposing his thick, throbbing member. Tate lifted his ass off the bed to help me get them to clear his glutes and I worked them up and off his legs. I then took a deep breath and grabbed his cock at the base, taking a moment to admire its substantial girth and the crisscrossing of veins under its pale skin. It felt almost heavy in my hand as I gave it a few strokes, pulling back his delicate foreskin to expose the pink head of his cock.

I leaned forward, looking up into Tate’s shining blue eyes, which were locked on mine. I took the head of his cock into my mouth, carefully sheathing my teeth with my lips. I was struck by how full my mouth already felt, even with just the head. I lolled my tongue around the head of his cock, enjoying the earthy sweet taste of his precum, suddenly a bit anxious as to how I was going to fit more of him into my mouth. I pulled off and began licking up and down his shaft, teasing my tongue around the crown and tugging playfully on his testicles before lowering my mouth back onto his cock. I’d maybe managed to get another inch in and Tate whimpered with pleasure. I began bobbing up and down, doing my best to stimulate his sensitive head with my tongue, still amazed at how large he felt. His cock reached the back of my throat and I felt myself wanting to gag but I suppressed the urged and tried to focus on relaxing my throat to allow him access.

Tate gasped his approval, his chest heaving and his fingers digging into the bed sheets. I could tell he was doing his best not to buck his hips and force himself deeper into my mouth before I was ready. I continued rhythmically working my way up and down his shaft. Each time I tried to take a little bit more of him, and flashed him the occasional apologetic look when my teeth grazed him.

Tate’s breathing became more ragged and I could sense that he was rapidly approaching orgasm. I pulled off so that only the head of his cock was in my mouth, and used my hand to stroke him vigorously to climax.

“Fuck! I’m going to cum,” Tate yelled a second before his hips lurched. Shot after shot of hot, thick semen flooded my mouth. I swallowed rapidly, but still found that I had to pull off after a few shots. I stroked him gently until I was sure that he was finished and then crawled up next to him, sharing a sloppy kiss. “Mmm, that was great,” he said, looking at me adoringly and reaching up to brush the hair off of my forehead affectionately.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “That was harder than I expected. Better but definitely harder.”

“Harder, huh?” Tate laughed, reaching down to grab my own erection and kissing me passionately. “Yup, definitely harder.”

I laughed.

“Looks like my favorite little guy is in need of attention,” Tate said, licking his lips.

***

A short (but not that short) time later the two of us were relaxing in the oversized tub, Tate seated between my legs and leaning back against me. My hands roamed leisurely around his torso and it felt great to feel a sense of, not ownership, but some sort of possession of Tate (and his hunky body). Tate was mine and I was his, and in that moment that was all I wanted.

“So what’d you think of your first time?” Tate asked, leaning his head back against my shoulder and looking up at me. “Did you like it?”

“Yeah!” I replied enthusiastically, remembering how incredible it had felt to have his powerful, throbbing cock in my mouth. “There was more to it than I expected. It was hard to concentrate on sheathing my teeth and breathing and not gagging and giving some tongue action all at once.”

Tate laughed. “Not into the multi-tasking, huh? Well you did a great job.”

“I mean, I only got about halfway down and I more-or-less bit you. Twice,” I replied.

Tate rolled his eyes and splashed me playfully. “Brae, it was a great first effort. You’ll get the hang of it in no time and we’ll have a lot of fun practicing. And in the mean time, I have no complaints.” Tate’s foot poked out of the bathwater and turned the faucet to let some more hot water into the tub.

I sighed with content. All in all, the evening’s exploits had been a success and I felt as though I had accomplished something. Well, something more than just giving a blow job. Honestly, I felt relieved. I’d overcome my anxieties about being physically intimate with Tate and I felt as though our relationship was all the better for it — and I had managed not to do any damage to his equipment. I hugged him tighter against my chest and leaned my head against the side of his, his wet curls pressed against my cheek.

“I’m so glad we got away for the weekend,” I said.

“Yeah, especially since we won’t be together next weekend,” he sighed.

“Don’t get all pouty on me,” I laughed. “I know you’re itching to see Elise. You won’t even miss me.”

“Okay, true,” Tate chuckled, nestling himself in my arms even more snugly.

“I just can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed,” I said, seeking out his hands with mine and lacing my fingers through his.

“Yeah, well the last couple of weekends have hardly been restful. I figured we could use a break from Carrington and the girls,” Tate replied.

“I think someone’s just bitter because they can’t hold their liquor,” I laughed.

“Maybe,” Tate laughed.

“Well, once the swim season starts we’ll have meets every weekend and we won’t be able to go out. So we may as well take advantage of it while we can,” I said.

“Yeah, still, I am determined to take it down a notch. I don’t want you to have to peel me off the floor again.”

“Well, I’m a pro at roommate rehabilitation at this point,” I joked. “Trust me, you’re child’s play compared to Skip.”

“I wonder if you can put that on your resume: hangover healer,” Tate laughed. “You’re like the Betty Ford of Carrington.”

“Thank god I’m not with you for your sense of humor,” I rebutted.

“Oh, yeah?! Then why are you with me?!” he laughed.

“You have certain other, umm… assets,” I replied, with a grin.

Tate sat upright and looked back at me, his eyes wide with feigned shock. “Ohhh, you mean this?” Tate asked innocently, rising seductively out of the bath and squatting so that his perfectly sculpted ass, pale and smooth, hovered in front of my face. It was an incredibly appetizing and arousing sight. Impulsively, I leaned forward and playfully (and lightly) bit on the flesh of one cheek. I was surprised at how firm and muscular it was and at my own gall. Tate yelped and stumbled and I reflexively reached out and grabbed his hips to steady him, preventing him from slipping sideways out of the tub.

“Don’t get water on the floor!” I hissed.

Tate threw his head back and laughed uproariously before lowering himself back into the tub. He turned to kiss me ardently, his laughter interrupting like hiccups. If I had been the aggressor earlier, there was no question that he was now in control.

“Up for an encore?” he whispered roguishly, nibbling on my ear and fervently massaging my burgeoning erection with his free hand. “You know practice makes perfect,” he continued, flicking his tongue against my earlobe.

“Ugh, I thought we were done with practice for the weekend!!” I whined.

“Oh! I’ll finish you!” Tate laughed, wrapping a strong arm around my waist. Climbing to his feet, he pulled me up with him. He hoisted me up under arm and (despite my struggling) lifted me out of the tub and carried me back into the bedroom and tossed me onto the bed.

“Are you on steroids?!” I laughed, a little astounded that Tate had just manhandled my 190 pounds with such alacrity.

He waved off my comment nonchalantly and hopped up onto the bed, lowering his slick, wet body on top of me.

“We’re getting everything wet! You are on clean up duty in the morning!” I laughed, wrapping my legs around his waist and pulling him tighter to me. “Let the practice begin,” I said, biting my lip coyly for a moment before Tate’s mouth engulfed mine.

***

There were a number of impromptu practice sessions that night and the following morning and Tate made it clear that he thought I was developing my skill set admirably. It was nearly noon by the time we finally made it out of bed and outside for a run.

“I don’t understand,” Tate whined as he checked his laces on the front porch. “Didn’t we get enough exercise last night?”

I waived off his protests dismissively and broke off at a healthy pace, expecting to have to slow down so that Tate could keep up with me. He appeared at my side a couple of moments later and was able to keep pace pretty easily for the first half hour, even with the relatively hilly terrain. We ran out one of the country roads leading out of town. It was treacherously windy, and narrow and dense forestation pretty much completely enshrouded it.

“You realize that if a car comes, we’re roadkill. Sexy roadkill, in your case, but roadkill all the same. This road is basically a series of blind corners,” Tate said, looking around anxiously.

We didn’t pass a single car on our entire hour long run, a fact that both Tate and I remarked upon. We couldn’t decide if it was charming or a little bit eerie.

We managed to catch the end of Sunday brunch at the inn and then retreated back to our room for what Tate called a “stroke clinic.”

“What? Like a private lesson?” I asked.

He wiggled his eyebrows mischievously. “Yup. You’ve got some heavy duty conditioning in your future,” he laughed as I followed him back upstairs to our room.

***

We left the inn after dinner and were back in Carrington around 10pm. It was strange how much this place was already beginning to feel like home. We shared a snack out of my mom’s ever diminishing stockpile and then got our stuff together for the following day and got ready for bed.

“Can I sleep with you for a little while tonight?” Tate asked, as I stripped off my briefs and climbed under my covers.

“For a ‘little while,’ huh?” I teased.

He grinned and bit his lip. “Yeah, just a little while. Scouts honor,” he replied solemnly, raising two fingers to his brow in a salute.

“Yeah, it’s the other salute you’ve got going on that worries me,” I laughed, eyeing the prominent bulge in his briefs. His cock head looked as though it was straining to escape its elastic enclosure. “Come on,” I said, pulling back my covers invitingly. He quickly stripped off his underwear and climbed into bed next to me. His head rested on my pillow, his face centimeters from mine in the darkness with the smell of his shampoo enveloping me.

“I think we need a queen-sized bed,” he whispered.

“Yeah, okay,” I laughed sarcastically.

“Just throwing it out there. Or we could push the beds together.”

“So much for remaining inconspicuous,” I replied seriously.

“So?” Tate asked.

“So, I just don’t want tongues wagging about us,” I replied. “I don’t think we need to be that in-your-face about the fact that we’re a couple.”

“It’s our room. I don’t know who we’re planning on entertaining in here that wouldn’t know about us,” he said.

“I dunno, you never know who’s going to just drop by. Besides, I’d even feel self-conscious if someone like Cameron or Colin saw our room like that. I dunno why, I just would. And what about if our parents visit?”

“All right you win,” Tate said.

“It’s not about winning,” I replied, a little perturbed when I heard him phrase it that way. “I will think about it,” I promised.

“Ya can’t blame me for not wanting to let go of you,” Tate whispered, snaking a strong hand into the arch of my back and pulling me against him, his face nuzzling against mine. “Oh! And I think we can agree we learned an important lesson this weekend,” he continued, laying feather-light kisses on my forehead and down my nose. “Bathing should always be a team activity,” he said with a throaty laugh, his breath hot and moist against my mouth. “We need to break that shower in soon!”

His mouth finally found mine with sleepy and gentle kisses. Finally, he sighed contentedly, snuggled closer against me and drifted off to sleep. I lay there for a few minutes, enjoying the soft tickle of his hair against my cheek, the feel of his smooth warm skin against mine, and the rush of his peaceful, melodic breathing against my neck.

***

The following afternoon I sat down at my computer to start prepping for the speech I had to give in public speaking the following day (okay, I procrastinate. I’m human). The speech was meant to be of an informative nature and my professor had suggested that I might want to give it about swimming (which I think speaks to the general academic expectations of Carrington College for its athletes). I kicked around the idea of doing a presentation on prehistoric swimming or depictions of swimming in literature, something that would subtly tell my professor where to shove it. I (inevitably) ended up on Facebook and was more than a little surprised to find that I had a message from Rhett Butler waiting for me. My stomach erupted in a flurry of butterflies and I felt an odd sense of trepidation as my mouse hovered over his message for a moment.

‘Fuck. What could he want? Maybe somebody knows about us. My parents? But why would Rhett every say anything? He wouldn’t. And even if he did, you’re out now Brae. Well, mostly. It doesn’t matter. Stop freaking out,’ I chided myself. I took a slow breath and clicked the message open

Hey Brae-

How’s it going? Hope you’re loving Carrington. I bet swimming is kicking your cute ass. I’ve missed you in the Hampton’s the last few times 😉 I’m actually visiting Carrington this weekend to tour the campus and was wondering if you’d be around to hang out and show me around a bit. Could be a lot of fun 😉 Anyways, I lost my phone (seventh this year) so I don’t have your number anymore. Mine’s the same, so gimme a call. Hope to see you this weekend 😉

-Rhett

‘Geez,’ I thought, having to roll my eyes at the flagrant emoticon abuse, ‘that was hardly subtle.’ While I was relieved that his message wasn’t heralding the collapse of my New York reputation, I now found myself in another predicament. How did I respond to my sort-of-ex-something’s rather blatant invitation? Rhett and I had never really discussed the nature of our relationship or the implications of our explorations. Would he freak out if I came out and told him that I had a boyfriend now? Would he feel like he had some kind of prior claim on me? And how would Tate feel about Rhett sniffing around after me? All I knew was that I was glad I had my weekend trip to see my parents lined up so I had a legitimate excuse to avoid what could be a tricky situation.

Tate walked in a few minutes later, catching me mid-deliberation.

“What’s up?” he asked, smiling broadly and walking up behind me to plant a kiss on my cheek. “You look bamboozled.”

“Bamboozled?” I laughed, giving him a look that I hoped said ‘seriously?’

“It’s one of my dad’s words,” Tate shrugged. “It’s wired into me.” He crouched behind my chair and wrapped his arms around my shoulders, resting his head against mine. “Ahhhh, Rhett Butler, huh?” he said, casting a glance at my laptop screen.

I winced. “Uhh. yeah,” I muttered, wishing I’d had the foresight to close the browser window.

“What does he want?” he asked suspiciously.

I shrugged and tilted the screen so that Tate could read the message for himself.

“He certainly has a way with words,” Tate said, turning to face me and giving me an exaggerated wink. “That boy wants in your pants—or back in your pants, I guess.”

“I dunno,” I said as innocently as I could muster.

“Right,” Tate said sarcastically. “I hope you told him you’re spoken for.”

“Well I haven’t told him anything yet. I don’t know why I have to say anything, I mean I’m not going to be here this weekend soooo, whether or not I’m available to hook up with him is kind of a moot point,” I said.

“Moot or not, as your boyfriend, I would personally feel comfortable if ‘Winky’ over there knew you were unavailable, and I hope unwilling,” he countered.

I groaned. “That’s not fair! I don’t bother you about your past. I don’t even know who you’ve been with before. I’m sure I have more than just one person to contend with.”

“Hey! You calling me a slut?” Tate asked with a laugh, although he sounded genuinely insulted. He stood up abruptly and went over to throw his bag on his bed.

“No!” I replied looking over at him apologetically. “I’m just saying that you’re more experienced than I am, which is normal. To be almost 19 and have only kissed one guy isn’t normal—well two guys now I guess.” I said.

“Our situations aren’t that different, Brae. I’m not a virgin, but I was until pretty recently,” he said, sitting on the edge of his bed.

“Oh,” I replied, surprised and not really knowing what to say.

“Do you want to have this conversation now?” he asked.

“Uhh, I dunno, we don’t have to,” I replied.

He patted the bed just next to himself and I got up to go join him. “May as well have it all out now,” he said. I sat down next to him and he leaned against me, grabbing one of my hands. “Well up until around this time last year I was basically at the few random and awkward fumblings point, sorta like you. There was Luc my freshman year. He was on my club team and was really a sweet guy, kind of awkward. Cameron sort of reminds me of him. That didn’t go much beyond kissing and groping. Then my junior year there was this guy at school, Juan Carlos, the Spanish ambassador’s son who basically figured out what my deal was and used to come over after school and I’d get him off.”

“What? He blackmailed you?!” I asked.

“No,” Tate said with a chuckle. “I was into it. He was incredibly hot and a pretty cool guy. But we were just getting off. He was straight for one thing and I think it was just a convenient arrangement for both of us.”

“Oh,” I replied, a little perplexed at how hooking up with a straight guy could ever qualify as a sane arrangement, but I let it slide. After all, I never knew exactly what Rhett’s deal was when we were getting off together and that was purely a physical thing.

“Towards the end of Junior year, Juan Carlos started bringing his friend Derek along for our sessions. I didn’t really like him as much, but I felt… I dunno… obligated I guess. Derek was also a more willing reciprocator than Juan Carlos, but I think he was straight too. Anyways. I never went beyond jacking off with Derek, and Juan Carlos and I tried oral a few times, but I wasn’t that into it with him.”

Tate paused for a breath and seemed to take a second to steel himself before he continued. I gave his hand a little squeeze and he looked at me, his eyes a little shiny with tears. He flashed a half-hearted smile.

“You don’t have to talk about it now, if you don’t want to,” I said softly.

He shook his head. “It’s okay. His name was Kurt. I met him last year at my dad’s fashion show. He’s a model and I was walking in the show. Anyways, he was older and charming and sophisticated and gorgeous and he’d just moved to Paris and, I dunno, things just happened before I knew it. I just got so wrapped up in him and us, in retrospect I can’t even explain it. It seems pathetic how much my life revolved around him. Well, him and swimming. It was almost like the harder swimming became the more I depended on him to balance things out. It was so fun at first. So new. And, I dunno, he was my first and I wanted him to be my last, my only, so I was willfully blind to a lot of what was really going on. He was really deeply selfish and just egocentric and I was just too awed by him or too intimidated to ever say anything. It was sorta like he had a weird power over me, like, he just had a way of making me do things I didn’t really want to do. He’d just do humiliating things to me and he’d disrespect me and I just didn’t get it. I thought that was part of what love was.”

Tate sighed and wiped at his eyes, his head hanging so that I couldn’t really get a good look at his face. I leaned over and rested my chin on his shoulder and kissed the side of his head reassuringly.

“The problems started last winter,” Tate continued, “I remember it was right around Valentine’s Day. I found out he’d cheated on me at least a couple of times. This was after he’d talked me into picking up guys occasionally when we went out together and bringing them home–”

“—What?!” I gasped, feeling a little sickened at his confession.

“Kurt liked picking up guys at bars and bringing them home and I went along with it, sort of. I don’t even remember how he talked me into it. I’d never let them touch me, they either fucked around with Kurt or watched me with Kurt, but I never did anything with them. I dunno, I just didn’t know any better. I thought that this was just a part of being gay and that I needed to accept it. Same thing with Kurt’s cheating. It just never occurred to me at the time that my relationship didn’t need to be that way. I thought these were very typically gay things.”

I murmured some kind of understanding, hoping that it sounded supportive. On one hand Tate’s situation seemed completely foreign. Yet on the other, the way he explained it made me feel as though I could have fallen prey to the exact same type of situation.

“Anyways, things weren’t going that well by the Spring. I was obviously in the pool a lot more and Kurt didn’t like that I had less time to spend with him. We fought a lot and I think for the first time I sorta realized that he probably wasn’t it for me. Then, as you probably already know, he ran off to the press after I made the Olympic team in May to grab his 15 minutes of fame, and that was that. He didn’t have to stretch the truth too far to make me sound totally fucked up. It really helped hit home for me that even though I wasn’t complicit in a lot of what was going on in our relationship, I was still a party to it and it reflected poorly on me. Someone that really loved me would never have put me in that situation.”

“Fuck, that’s pretty much every anxiety I ever had about being gay manifested,” I said, feeling genuinely heartbroken over what Tate had suffered.

“It still makes me ill to think about it. It was incredibly dehumanizing and just mortifying. I can’t believe I ended up in that situation. And on top of it all I was in incredibly intense training and it couldn’t have been any more miserable. My dad was able to quiet things down a lot and he more-or-less ran Kurt out of town. I think he felt really bad for supporting us to begin with. My mom always had a problem with the fact that Kurt was 23 but my dad really liked Kurt and encouraged us. I think he hoped that my dating a model meant I was finally showing an interest in fashion,” Tate said rolling his eyes.

I chuckled. “Wow he’s really stuck on that isn’t he?”

Tate groaned. “You have noooo idea. Although, to be fair, I think if I expressed a strong interest in something else he’d be 100% supportive of that. But as long as I’m up in the air, he isn’t going to relent. But yeah, getting back to Kurt, you’ve never really experienced humiliation until your parents have to read exaggerated accounts of your sex life in the tabloids and your mom insists on dragging you to the clinic to be tested.”

“I can’t even imagine. I’d probably kill myself,” I said, only half-kidding.

“Trust me, you certainly think about it. Carrington seriously could not have come at a better time. Even though it had mostly blown over by the Games, it still sucks to know that the whole country thinks of you as an entitled slutty, fag. I felt like the gay Paris Hilton,” he laughed.

“Well, at least you can joke about it.”

“It’s the sort of thing you have to laugh about. Otherwise you’ll go crazy. And you know, at the end of the day I learned an invaluable lesson and I learned that I have a great support system to back me up through the worst of it.”

“Yeah. Those are all good points. I think all you can do it focus on the positives.”

“Exactly. I mean it still makes me sick to think about it sometimes and I just wish I could erase it from my history. But at the end of the day I’m pretty much at peace with it. I know better now and I’m in a position to make sure that nothing like that ever happens to me, or anyone I care about, again,” he said giving me a meaningful glance.

“Anyways, that sums up the Tate Vallette Slut Chronicles,” he smiled, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands. “Oh, and for the record, all my tests came back clean. I’m VD free.”

“Oh,” I replied, realizing that it hadn’t ever occurred to me that he might not be. ‘Seriously, pretty fucking stupid Brae,’ I thought to myself. ‘Protection, protection, protection. Twelve year-olds know that.’ I stuttered for a second. “Uhh, that’s good to know,” I replied.

“I obviously would have said something by now,” he said sincerely.

“I know, I believe you,” I replied. “Thanks for telling me all of this. I know it can’t be an easy thing for you to relive.”

“It isn’t, but, you deserve to know. I don’t want to be keeping things from each other. And, I guess, I want you to see my telling you this as a commitment to, I dunno, making something better and more lasting out of our relationship.”

“Beautifully put,” I said, wrapping my arms around Tate’s bulky frame. He nestled against me comfortably. “And if we ever run into this Kurt dude, I want you to point him out so I can rearrange his face.”

“Nicola and my sister already tried this summer,” Tate replied with a throaty laugh. “Nicola decided that a ‘shanking’ was in order, her word obviously, and Elise was all about it. They tracked him down at some bar, but he got security to help him out. Still, you gotta love Nicola for threatening to stab a guy for me when she’d only known me a couple of weeks.”

I had to laugh. “She is a special one,” I agreed. “They all are.”

“Shit, we have to be at practice in a half hour. My emo rant ate up half our afternoon,” he laughed with a self-conscious smile.

I rubbed his head affectionately, “Geez, if I’d known what an emotionally demanding guy you were before… it’s like dating a fucking girl,” I joked.

“Shut up!,” he laughed, knocking me backwards with a playful shove and rolling on top of me to plant light kisses all over my face.

“Mmmm,” I moaned with pleasure, enjoying the feeling of Tate’s weight on me, and feeling a stirring deep in my loins.

“We’d better not,” he chuckled jumping off of me. “There is plenty of time for that later and we need to work on delaying your orgasms. Hair trigger!” he laughed, opening up his laptop and pulling up his email.

“Fuck you!” I retorted, unable to stifle a smirk.

“Oh,” Tate said, tearing his eyes from the screen and looking back at me. “I forgot to tell you I ran into Cash on the Commons and invited him to dinner with us.”

“Okay, cool,” I shrugged. Cash was becoming a regular part of our circle and I thought he made an excellent addition. With so any high strung people like Nicola, Emmie (and even Tate at times) it was nice to have another person for the mellow team. Plus he was a born showman and we were his favorite audience. ‘Wait!’ I thought, suddenly struck by a burst of inspiration. ‘Cash is gay and clearly lonely and Rhett is clearly on the prowl… And Tate and I won’t be on campus this weekend to show Rhett around…’ I rationalized. ‘This could work out to everyone’s benefit.’

“Tate… what would you think of asking Cash to show Rhett around this weekend?”

“You just can’t resist playing matchmaker can you?” he said with a smile. “You know, just because they’re both gay doesn’t mean they are going to like each other…”

“Well it means they have at least one thing in common. Besides, even if they aren’t into each other, it doesn’t mean that Cash couldn’t walk him around for a couple hours this weekend.”

“I dunno… I think Cash is looking for someone he can depend on and Rhett is clearly looking to get his rocks off this weekend.”

“Okay, but Cash is a grown man. He can fend for himself, he doesn’t need us to mother him.”

“All right, well I don’t think you should get their hopes up at all.”

“Well, I’ll see is Cash is even available this weekend before I worry about that.”

 

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